In the news: 5 tech news stories worth another look

Pete Roythorne

It’s the time of year when resolutions rule.

Of course, in addition to personal goals, you can do things to benefit your business.

resolutionAccording to CIO.com, “As 2016 begins, now is the time for businesses (regardless of industry, size, product or service offering, or location) to take stock of all resources and initiatives, and plan strategy-centric projects to implement in the New Year. There are many projects any business can implement that, if executed successfully, can create fresh opportunities or drastically reduce the chance of costly missed opportunities.”

Here are six areas the article’s author suggests exploring:

  1. Put more focus on projects that support strategy
  2. Re-asses customer/client needs
  3. Take on business process improvements
  4. Revisit vendor service offerings
  5. Review and re-vamp information systems and technology
  6. Re-deploy human resources

The article adds context to those suggestions before giving this reminder: “It can be easy to get caught up in just day-to-day operations without recognizing the actual cost of missing some more basic projects.”

Happy New Year. Don’t drop the ball.

What other news stories made this round-up? Read on:

Double trouble
Malware
Cybercriminals, you can certainly say, were double trouble in 2015.

Nearly six out of every 10 corporate PCs (58%) were targets of an attempted malware infection at least once in the past 12 months, according to Kaspersky Lab research. That’s an increase of three percent from 2014.

“Some 29% of business computers were exposed at least once to an Internet-based attack, while 41% faced local threats, such as infected USB sticks. Additionally, there was a 7% increase in the number of attacks targeting the Android platform,” Venture Beat reports.

In terms of most targeted business sectors, financial services organizations were cybercriminals’ chief focus. The IT security of “banks, investment funds, and both stock and currency exchanges” were specifically tested.

‘Interesting shifts’
healthcare
Remember when cybercriminals considered retail records extremely valuable? Well, times are changing.

IBM’s Security Intelligence blog says the tech giant’s X-Force security researchers “identified some interesting shifts in criminal behavior.”

Compared to 2014, there’s a 92% decrease in the number of compromised records companies reported, creating “a four-year low.”

Instead of retail records, cybercriminals are now going after health care data. The blog post, written by IBM’s vice president of security, points to three key reasons:

  • Health data is highly valuable
  • Health data lasts forever
  • Health care is still adapting to the security landscape

“We have seen a 1,166% increase in reported health care records breached from 2014 to 2015,” the post says. “In fact, nearly 100 million health care records were compromised in 2015.”

One in a billion
taxi
A man named Marvin recently received the ultimate holiday gift. As the customer who took the one billionth trip with on-demand car service Uber, he’ll receive free rides for a year, multiple media outlets report.

According to TechCrunch, it took 5 1/2 years for Uber, which launched in 2010, to hit the milestone. Reaching the next milestone isn’t expected to take not nearly as long.

“Now available in 68 countries and 370 cities, it’s possible that Uber’s two billionth ride will happen before the end of 2016,” the report says.

Of greater importance, at least to investors, is the company’s valuation. On the heels of a recent $2.1 billion round of fundraising, Uber’s value could approach $65 billion.

‘A refined kind of phishing’
Whale
When the boss tells you to do something, it’s wise to act immediately.

But that could be a big mistake, especially if you work in finance or accounting.

According to Network World, security firm Mimecast warns of rising “whaling” attacks – “a refined kind of phishing in which hackers use spoofed or similar-sounding domain names to make it look like the emails they send are from your CFO or CEO.”

Fifty-five percent of the 442 IT pros Mimecast surveyed in December reported an increase in whaling attacks during the final three months of 2015, the article says. Organizations from Africa, Australia, the US and UK were represented.

The next time the boss sends an email to transfer funds? Consider confirming with a phone call.